Argument over a cricket match between Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri students of the National Institute of Technology (NIT) have brought things to such a height that a group of outstation students have told a three-member team, sent by the Ministry of Human Resource Development to quell trouble, that the college needed to be shifted out of Srinagar.
"This is not India, Sir. We cannot live here. You will have to shift the college,” the students allegedly told the team, according to the Indian Express. Around eight protesting engineering students, mainly non-locals, were injured in police lathicharge when they tried to march outside the campus to press for their demands.
An HRD team was sent to NIT to look into the matter after non-local students made repeated calls for help.
"I was threatened by Kashmiri girls of my class to attend classes, otherwise we will be raped and molested by the locals.
Times of India on Friday reported that not only have the non-locals claimed they were intimidated, as they continued to boycott classes for the eighth day today, a Bihari student has even alleged that local women colleagues warned them that they will be raped if they continued with their agitation.
"I was threatened by Kashmiri girls of my class to attend classes, otherwise we will be raped and molested by the locals," the student who was not named by TOI, said. She said "though we are getting food and facilities in the hostel, we feel insecure inside the campus."
(Indian students argue with a policeman during a protest against police action on students of National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Srinagar while they were protesting against students of Kashmiri origin celebrating India's loss to West Indies in the semifinal of the ICC T20 World Cup, in Jammu, India, Thursday, April 7, 2016. AP Photo/Channi Anand)
The campus has seen violent protests ever since two groups of students argued over locals celebrating India's defeat to West Indies in the T20 World Cup semis. The outstation students have demanded that they be allowed to raise the Indian flag at the main entrance. The HRD team has appealed for calm before any action is taken.
Meanwhile, political parties wasted no time to politicize the issue. BJP, in a thinly veiled warning, said the way outstation students were being dealt with, it could have an impact on students from Jammu and Kashmir studying elsewhere in the country.
(Police men deployed outside the gate of Srinagar NIT on April 6, 2016 in Srinagar, India. Photo by Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
"The elements involved in the misaction are anti-national and anti-people who want to destroy the peaceful atmosphere in the state by indulging in such type of violence which tantamount to instigating similar reactions against students from the state studying outside the state and putting to risk and jeopardy their lives," said Sunil Sethi, chief spokesperson of BJP's state unit.
Noting that Jammu and Kashmir is poised to get AIIMS and IIT, he said, "Bad treatment given to our fellow countrymen in the state will dissuade the students and teachers to come to these institutions which looks like concerted effort to isolate the state from national mainstream."
The elements involved in the mis-action are anti-national and anti-people who want to destroy the peaceful atmosphere in the state by indulging in such type of violence which tantamount to instigating similar reactions against students from the state studying outside the state and putting to risk and jeopardy their lives.
He called upon the state govt administration to take effective and strong action against all persons involved, including police officials, to instil confidence among outstation students. He further said raising of national flag and chanting national slogans are a matter of pride and the state has to facilitate activities which propagate nationalism.
Action should be taken against all such elements who are indulging in anti-national slogans and hoisting flags of Pakistan which amounts to supporting and propagating terrorism and separatism in the state and rest of country, Sethi said.
BAN ON SALE OF PAKISTANI FLAGS
He said there should be total ban on sale and possession of Pakistani Flags in the state with penal consequences to stop the politics of hatred in the state. Meanwhile, BJP MLC Ramesh Arora met the Director General of Police and expressed his concern over the "unfortunate" incident in Srinagar NIT.
(Activists of Vishav Hindu Parishad burning tyres during a protest against ongoing unrest at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Srinagar, on April 6, 2016 in Jammu, India. Photo by Nitin Kanotra/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Arora said, "We don't want to demoralise local police but at the same time, we cannot allow anybody from our force to spoil the peaceful atmosphere and give a bad name to the state."
The NIT incident is "a move to create wedge between locals and non-locals which is not in the interest of the state and condemnable".
Arora said, "It appears that a few persons wanted to play politics and the recent episode in JNU has boosted their nefarious designs."
"This fact is also required to be investigated whether it is an act of irresponsible cop or a politically motivated game. We smell that certain parties which are out of power wanted to demolish peace and the fabric of brotherhood prevailing in the state through their 'yes man' or persons present in forces," he said.
(inputs from PTI)
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